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After negative coronavirus test, Bellator champ Patricio Freire back to training – with some adjustments

Like many fighters, Patricio Freire had to make some adjustments to his training with new coronavirus safety laws and recommendations in place.

Freire (30-4 MMA, 18-4 BMMA) was scheduled to headline Bellator 241 on March 14 against Pedro Carvalho. However, the event was canceled hours prior to start time. From there, Freire boarded a plane and headed home to his native Brazil.

Upon arrival, Freire, brother Patricky Freire, and their boxing coach decided to isolate themselves from everyone else. While none of them presented any symptoms, they took coronavirus tests as a precaution. They all came back negative.

“After we returned, it was me, my brother and our boxing coach,” Freire told MMA Junkie in Portuguese through an interpreter. “We were in isolation in my house. Neither of us had any symptoms, but we took the coronavirus test anyway in order to be safe. We have kids and a family to come back to. We thought it was best to be safe about it. All of the tests came back negative.”

State mandates forced the Freire’s “Pitbull Brothers Artes Marciais” gym to close, but they’ve still found a way to get training in – even if it means working in their condo complex.

“All this week, we’ve trained boxing,” Freire said. “I live in a big condo, so there’s a lot of space for us to run. We were preparing the best way we could. That’s what we plan on continuing doing. The gym is closed for an undetermined amount of time. We have a federal and state decree saying gyms and everything that’s sanctioned can’t be open.

“Our practices and everything are suspended, and we’re telling everyone to train by themselves in an open space. We all have family, and we don’t want to risk their safety. I have a wife and two kids, including one newborn here.”

Currently in the midst of the Bellator featherweight grand prix, Freire is the promotion’s 145-pound titleholder. In the eyes of many, he’s the face of the tournament. Despite this, Freire isn’t itching to return as soon as possible. He recognizes the seriousness of the coronavirus and wants to wait see how things play out.

“I’m healthy; I thank God for that,” Freire said. “I’m letting the dust settle, enjoying our time with our loved ones. I think we were all needing something like that. It’s probably something that came because we were needing it. I think humanity needed a pause, and this is what’s happening right now.”

While Bellator has remained largely quiet about plans in the immediate future, the UFC’s current mission statement is clear. The UFC wants to put on shows – with or without fans. Bellator president Scott Coker recently told MMA Junkie the promotion could look at doing audience-less shows down the line, but Freire isn’t fond of the idea.

“Bellator has all the means to pull off something like that,” Freire said. “I’m sure they’re thinking about all the possibilities and how to move forward with the fights and the postponed card in its entirety. I really feel kind of weird. The public looks for the fights. It’s different to see that atmosphere with the audience there and the cheering – all of those noises. I don’t know if it’d really be as meaningful if we closed two guys in the studio and have them fight – especially for a big fight like that. I don’t know what to think or to expect.

“We’ll have to wait and see what’s next.”

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